Guest / Limited Access /

It's been a tough couple of months for evangelical public figures. We discovered that Carrie Prejean, Miss California, sudden heroine in the gay marriage debate, posed nude for the cameras to kick-start her modeling career.

Then there were the Gosselins, a seemingly devout couple who were sacrificially raising a "ginormous" family on reality TV for all to see their Christian witness. They have decided to divorce. They mouthed the usual mantra, about doing it for the sake of the kids—and the hearts of the devout nationwide sank in despair.

This week we're squirming over South Carolina Governor, and active Christian, Mark Sanford. Every day we discover more sordid details of his extra-marital affair, with Sanford himself revealing, well, just way too much information. Do we really need to know how many times he kissed his paramour, and where they met, and which meetings resulted in "crossing the line" and so forth? Now he's trying to spiritually justify staying in office. It feels so narcissistic and self-serving.

It's discouraging to see Christians who could have been models of our faith become merely examples of what G. K. Chesterton called the one doctrine subject to empirical proof: original sin.

There is something in the evangelical psyche that denies this reality. Yes, we're a movement that preaches repentance and confession of sin as a chief means of grace. But after conversion, our holiness heritage kicks in. We preach, teach, and live "discipleship," "obedience," and "following" Jesus. We're deathly afraid of cheap grace. We assume that with sufficient exhortation and moral effort, our sins will become smaller than a widow's mite and our righteousness larger than life.

This is coupled with the long-standing evangelical ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

SoulWork
In "SoulWork," Mark Galli brings news, Christian theology, and spiritual direction together to explore what it means to be formed spiritually in the image of Jesus Christ.
Mark Galli
Mark Galli is Editor of Christianity Today in Carol Stream, Illinois.
Previous SoulWork Columns:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssuePutting Our Money Where Our Eyes Are
Subscriber Access Only
Putting Our Money Where Our Eyes Are
Subscribing to periodicals for the common good.
RecommendedMormons and Christians: So Close, Yet So Far Away
Mormons and Christians: So Close, Yet So Far Away
What should we make of claims that the two faiths are on a path to reconciling?
TrendingResearch Says: Young People Don't Want Hip Pastors
Research Says: Young People Don't Want Hip Pastors
A study of 250 congregations suggests that youth and young adults want substance rather than style.
Editor's PickRandy Alcorn: God Wants You to Find Your Happy Place
Randy Alcorn: God Wants You to Find Your Happy Place
Why happiness and holiness don’t have to be in conflict.
Christianity Today
The Scandal of the Public Evangelical
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

July 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.